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A breast lift (technically called a mastopexy) is a cosmetic surgery procedure that will lift your breasts to a more attractive position. Due to age, genetics, child-bearing, nursing, weight loss or gain, and gravity, you may find that your breasts aren't as "perky" as they once were (or perhaps never were!). A breast lift is an excellent remedy for droopy, sagging breasts. It can also reduce the size of the areola, the darker skin surrounding your nipples. If your breasts lack volume or firmness, inserting either a saline or silicone implant can be done during the breast lift procedure, resulting in perkier, firm breasts. The implants especially help the upper portion (called upper pole).
If you are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and have realistic expectations, you will be a good candidate for breast enhancement. The best results are achieved in women with smaller, sagging breasts. Although breasts of any size can be lifted, the results of a breast lift will not last as long in women with very heavy breasts as in women with smaller breasts. You may wish to have a breast reduction with your breast lift if heavy breasts are a concern for you, particularly if your bra straps dig into your shoulders or if you are experiencing back pain due to very heavy breasts.
Keep in mind that if you plan to have more children, pregnancy and nursing can "undo" the results of a breast lift. While you will still be able to nurse a baby after a breast lift, both pregnancy and nursing are likely to stretch the breast tissue again, leaving you with the same problem. For that reason, we advise women to wait until they have finished having children before having a breast lift procedure.
A breast lift will leave noticeable, permanent scars, although these will be covered by your bra or bathing suit. It can also result in unevenly positioned nipples or some loss of sensation in the nipples or breasts.
How the procedure is performed
Breast lift procedures are performed under general anesthesia in our Boca Raton accredited in-office surgery suite on an outpatient basis. There are 4 types of breast lifts that we perform depending upon the degree of droopiness. For very slightly droopy areolas we perform a "crescent lift" in which a small crescent of skin is excised from the top of the areola.
For slightly more sagging, we may perform a modified procedure which primarily involves circular incisions around the areola. This is also called a "doughtnut" mastopexy" (also called Benelli lift because only a doughnut-shaped area of skin is removed. This procedure is usually performed with a breast implant.
A vertical mastopexy uses an incision around the areola and a vertical incision to the crease. This is a good procedure for a moderate amount of sagging and for small breast reduction.
The most common incision is called an "anchor" incision because it looks like an upside-down anchor, with an incision around the areola, from the bottom of the areola to beneath the crease under the breast, and in the crease itself. Excess skin is removed to create a firmer breast and the nipple and areola are repositioned. Sutures are placed around the areola in the line under the breast and in the breast crease.
If you are having an implant placed along with your breast lift, it will be inserted into a pocket made directly under the breast tissue or underneath the breast muscle. The determination of placement will be made at your initial consultation.
What to expect during recovery
Following your breast lift procedure, you will wear an elastic bandage or surgical bra over the gauze dressings. Your breasts will be bruised, swollen and uncomfortable for a couple of days but the pain should not be severe. We will give you pain medications for discomfort. Within a few days of the procedure you can switch to a soft support bra which should be worn 24 hours a day for up to a month. You'll come back into the office within the first few days for your first postoperative visit at which time you'll be examined to be sure everything is going as it should. Sutures are removed within a week or two. You will have some loss of feeling in the nipples and breast skin which is caused by the swelling after surgery. This should subside over the next six weeks or so, though in some patients it may last longer or even be permanent.